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Home » August 2010 Game CommentsAugust 2010 » The Maim Game

The Maim Game

Papelbon, Papelbon, bo-ba-pelbon
Banana-fana, fo-fa-felon
What the f*ck was that?

Clay Buchholz pitched a sterling eight innings and watched the dint of his efforts get hammered into a shape unrecognizable by Jonathan Papelbon. Buchholz left two runners on base, none out, and MVP-candidate Miguel Cabrera at the dish for the closer, so it wasn’t an easy save. But for Papelbon, lately there have been no easy saves.

Cabrera’s inevitable double plated two runners. Papelbon struck out Brennan Boesch, formerly a candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year but slumping of late. Jhonny Peralta, acquired from the Indians, has proved to be a spark plug for the Tigers. The infielder singled up the middle to plate Don Kelly, who Jim Leyland pinch ran for Cabrera.

As ill-advised as it was for Terry Francona to send Buchholz to the mount to attempt to notch the novelty of a complete shutout, it was still smarter than Leyland pulling Cabrera. He must have had supreme confidence two things: Papelbon blowing the lead and Boston’s offense unable to make up the deficit.

Then again, the Red Sox batters failed to get an extra base hit over the course of eight innings, why would Leyland expect differently in the bottom of the ninth?

Jed Lowrie, who had made the error on Will Rhymes’s batted ball that led to the visitors’ three-run rally, led off the bottom frame with an infield single to Peralta. Unlike Marco Scutaro in the seventh, Lowrie ran through first base to maintain his speed and beat out the throw. Even though Lowrie flashed his wheels, Francona opted to pinch run Darnell McDonald for him. Eric Patterson tried mightily to hand Detroit an out on bunt attempts but home plate umpire Dale Scott resolutely called a couple of strikes balls.

With runners on first and second Scutaro laid down a perfect bunt that skidded no more than 10 feet from home plate and equidistant between Peralta and Robbie Weinhardt. In his haste Weinhardt fired the ball past Kelly, allowing McDonald to dash across home for the second walk-off win in a row.

By sweeping the Angels and winning the series against the Tigers, the Red Sox kept their faint playoff hopes alight while extinguishing other clubs’ aspirations.

Although a late-inning comeback is admirable, a few words, as meager as they may be, should be allotted to describe J.D. Drew’s catch of Boesch’s fly ball in the second inning for the first out. Drew, as always, got an early jump and ran a flawless route to ball’s landing spot. He slides only when he needs to and for this play he did. The left fielder glided elegantly along the warning track and popped up with ball in glove, effortlessly as Fred Astaire.

Game 105: August 1, 2010
3L: Brad Thomas (4-1)
2B: Jhonny Peralta (24), Miguel Cabrera (36)
WinRed Sox
4BS, W: Jonathan Papelbon (5, 4-4)
No extra base hits.

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